Definition of Analogy

  • An analogy is a literary device that is used to clarify a concept or idea by comparing it to something that is already familiar.

  • It often explains or illustrates one idea by comparing it with a second, more familiar, idea. It demonstrates the shared qualities between the two items, although they may be completely different otherwise.

Purpose of Analogies

  • The use of analogies can help to make complex or unfamiliar concepts easier to understand. They create clarity by drawing comparisons with something more understandable.

  • Analogies can be used to bring a piece of writing to life, create vivid imagery, or create an emotional response from the reader. They can be powerful tool in enhancing a piece of writing.

  • They are commonly used in arguments to provide strong evidence or to rebut an opposing view. They can also play a potential role in decision-making or problem-solving.

Forms of Analogy

  • Analogies can be expressed in many forms. For instance, one could use a simile, a type of analogy that uses “like” or “as”. On the other hand, a metaphor, which is another form of analogy, typically uses “is” to draw comparisons.

  • Allegories and parables are forms of extended analogies, where an entire story is told to make a point about a different concept or scenario.

Recognising Analogies

  • Identify words, phrases, or sentences that are comparing two different things on the basis of their shared characteristics.

  • Look for keywords that indicate a comparison, such as “like,” “as,” “similar to,” “likewise,” or “in the same way.”

  • Always look for the comparison that is being made, and the purpose behind it. This will help in understanding the main concept or argument being discussed in the text.

Evaluating Analogies

  • When analysing the use of analogies, it’s important to ask: Is the analogy appropriate, does it make sense, and does it support the overall argument or theme of the text?

  • Consider how well the comparison conveys the intended message. If it’s effective, it should aid understanding and enhance the appeal or persuasive power of the text.

  • However, remember that no analogy is perfect. Every analogy, however accurate, usually has some limitations. These limitations could potentially be used to challenge the argument or viewpoint expressed in the text.